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Financial Crime: Teen killer serving life sentence charged with running $2 million COVID relief scam from behind bars

A convicted teen killer serving a life sentence in California for murdering her mother has been charged with running a $2 million COVID-19 unemployment relief scam from behind bars.

Natalie Le DeMola, 37, is accused of obtaining the personal identity information of other inmates in the prison where she is incarcerated and their visitors, and handing them to her co-conspirators to file for unemployment relief funds during the early days of the pandemic.

Between June 2020 and April 2020, the group, which includes 12 other defendants, collected $2 million in fraudulent benefits, federal prosecutors said. 

DeMola couldn’t immediately be reached for comment and no attorney was yet listed for her in court documents. It was unclear whether she had appeared in court yet to face the federal charges.

DeMola has been serving a life sentence at the California Instutution for Women since 2005 when she and her then-boyfriend, Terry Bell, were convicted of first-degree murder for beating her mother to death at their Corona, Calif., home in 2001.

DeMola, who was 16 at the time, and Bell, who was 17, had plotted to kill her mother because she objected to them dating, according to news reports from their trial.

Federal prosecutors say DeMola conspired with Carleisha Neosha Plummer, 32, a former fellow inmate at the Chino, Calif., women’s prison, who was paroled in July 2020.

Plummer could not immediately be reached and no attorney was yet listed for her in court documents.

DeMola allegedly procured the personal details, including dates of birth and social security numbers, of other inmates and their visitors from a prison associate who had access to a database containing that info.

She would then send the details on to her accomplices outside the prison who would use them to file for fraudulent unemployment benefits which they would have sent to mail boxes they controlled, prosecutors said. 

Prison inmates aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, but the gang would check boxes on the application stating they weren’t incarcerated, according to court documents.

Five of the 13 defendants — including DeMola — have been arrested, authorities said. All are charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

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